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Starting solid foods is an exciting time in your baby’s life. Up until this point your baby has had a 100% milk diet, and now you get a chance to introduce them to the flavors of your family. For many parents, offering solids can feel like a fresh start if their breastfeeding or formula feeding journey has been tough. So many parents are anxious to start solid foods as soon as possible. However, the current guidelines around solid food introduction recommend waiting until around 6 months for this big milestone. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, Health Canada and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend starting around 6 months of age and when your baby is showing readiness cues. This is because waiting until around 6 months is associated with improved breastfeeding, reduced risk of allergies and digestive issues, and optimal growth.
It's so easy to get excited and want to start solid foods early, but remember – you will be feeding them solids from here on out! You will have plenty of opportunities to offer foods to your child. Waiting until your baby is ready helps ensure a more positive experience.

“Does when you start depend on if I’m doing Baby-led Weaning vs. spoon-feeding?”

Nope! Starting around six months is recommended no matter how you offer solid foods. We love Baby-led Weaning, which involves letting babies pick up whole pieces of soft food to feed themselves, because it promotes independence with food and may prevent picky eating to some extent. However, even if you are interested in spoon feeding your baby before trying finger foods, we recommend waiting until around 6 months of age to start anything other than breast milk or formula (Psst – we’ve taught Baby-led Weaning from a gentle, non judgmental perspective to hundreds of thousands of families, and we’d love to help your family too!)

“OK, I know I should wait until around 6 months of age. What other readiness cues am I looking for?”

1. Full head control: For safety reasons, it is imperative that your baby has good head control before starting solid foods. We want their airway to be completely unblocked when they start eating solids of any texture. They should be able to independently hold their head up while you hold them on your hip. Note: head control usually comes far before 6 months of age, but it’s an important readiness cue.
2. Sitting with minimal assistance on the floor: When you sit your baby on carpet or a blanket, can they hold themself up for a few moments, or do they immediately topple over? Do they look strong and sturdy, or are they slouched and hunched over? We want your baby to be sturdy and have good sitting skills, as sitting well helps your baby have the endurance and stability for eating. Read more about it here.
3. Bringing their hands and safe toys to their mouth: For babies to bring food to their mouth, they must first bring their hands to their mouth! By exploring their mouths with their hands, they are “mapping" where food should go. They’re learning that if they put their hands straight back on their tongue, they might gag. They’re learning all about what happens in their mouth. That’s why we really encourage hand to-mouth movements as often as possible. Check out our favorite teethers to help prepare your baby for solid foods.
4. Showing an interest in food: It’s a good sign that your baby is staring at you while you eat and reaching for your foods – it indicates that they are getting ready to try some for themselves! You might notice that your baby watches you closely as you put food into your mouth, and it’s an important developmental cue that their body is getting ready to start eating.

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